University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Spring 2017 Newsletter
Message from the Dean 

The ASC is, in many ways, about academic resilience, and as Jamais Cascio once commented, “Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive.” From our expanding Major Pathways Program to our student-athletes’ outstanding academic success to managing the largest First-Year Seminar program at UNLV, the ASC team has been engaged in working with our students not only to survive, but also to thrive.

Learning Support Director, Dr. Anne White, recently commented to our leadership team that we have expanded tutoring, supplemental instruction, coaching and our bridge programs to foster a dynamic engagement between students and their desire to achieve a successful graduation.  This quest to help students thrive, as opposed to simply survive their academic challenges, is the underpinning of many of the services and various roles of the administrative faculty featured in this newsletter.

As Laurie A. Schreiner, author of “The Thriving Quotient” puts it, “Thriving college students not only are academically successful, they also experience a sense of community and a level of psychological well-being that contributes to their persistence to graduation and allows them to gain maximum benefit from being in college.” It is in this spirit that the entire ASC faculty and staff seek to raise our success quotient by inspiring students to become engaged in campus activities, promote health and wellness and layer these initiatives throughout basic academic support that help students over scholarly speed bumps.

           - Dean Ann McDonough, Academic Success Center
Student-Athletes Use ASC Resources to Achieve Success
by Alan Hott, Assistant Director of SAAS

Asia Cooper, a senior English Major on the UNLV Women’s Track & Field team, has found success in utilizing tutoring services through the Academic Success Center to help her reach her goal of becoming a college graduate. Asia transferred to UNLV in Fall 2015 from the University of Mississippi, and her transition to UNLV has been filled with various setbacks and roadblocks. While at Old Miss she achieved First-Team All-America status after placing eighth in the 60m at the 2013 Indoor NCAA Championships. In addition, she was also a three-time Junior Olympic All-American in high school.  She arrived at UNLV with an impressive athletic resume and still achieved athletic success as a Rebel, earning All-Conference status at the Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships in 2016. However, Asia continued to battle frequent injuries and struggles in the classroom. She eventually had to face the reality that she was not going to graduate on time. 

Asia’s biggest hurdle toward graduation is Spanish 213, a class she is repeating this semester. As an English major, she is required to take 9 credits of a foreign language, and Asia knew she had to overcome this last obstacle if she was going to graduate from UNLV. 
She also knew that she would have to approach this class in an entirely new way if she was going to receive a passing grade.  She worked with her academic eligibility specialist to set up tutoring services.

“My Spanish tutor Tyler Cross made me more confident in myself and I’ve learned more with him this semester than I have in the past five years,” says Asia.

Asia’s hard work is finally going to pay off, and Student-Athlete Academic Services (SAAS) is proud to say that she will graduate with her B.A. in English this spring. 

In addition, student-athletes have also found success in utilizing the coaching services provided by the Academic Success Center. In conjunction with weekly meetings with their SAAS Academic Eligibility Specialist, freshmen student-athletes have had reoccurring meetings with a success coach. 
Learning Support Student Spotlight
by Debi Cheek, Coaching Coordinator

For many students, their college career begins the first day of class. This was not the case for Alfredo Sibucao. After retiring from the Air Force, Alfredo opened up a retail store in Las Vegas. However, he had a passion for education. As part of the marketing efforts for his business, Alfredo visited local schools and encouraged students to complete their education. In 2016, Alfredo decided to take his own advice and enrolled in UNLV to complete his degree in Engineering. 

Alfredo knew he would need to refresh some of his skills and began looking for tools to help him succeed. Initially, he began with a Google search for FREE math tutoring. Academic Tutoring at the ASC was one of the first results.  

He was thrilled to learn that he could utilize these services for FREE over the summer and immediately began using the ASC Tutoring services at the Lied Library. In addition, he also took advantage of BrainFuse, the ASC’s online tutoring option. Alfredo took Learning Support’s Motto of “Come EARLY and Come Often” to heart. 

During the Spring semester, Alfredo added another ASC tool to his academic success toolbox – Academic Success Coaching, as part of the ASC’s collaboration with CAEO and the AANAPISI STEM grant. He described coaching as “A welcoming environment to help people transition to UNLV.”  Academic Success Coaching focuses on non-cognitive skills including time management, study skills, financial literacy, and digital literacy. Alfredo added “Coaching has introduced me to many campus resources, although I may not need them all today, I’m adding them to my toolbox so I have them when I need them.” 

Alfredo characterized the UNLV campus and ASC resources as “vibrant and forward thinking.” His recommendation for fellow students is simple: “Embrace the journey, it’s going to be hard sometimes, but know and use your campus resources, it will all be worth it when you graduate!” 

A Student's  Success
by Geena Marano, Graduate Assistant

Jeanne Soriano is a kind-hearted, determined graduating senior who attributes much of her success of her four years at UNLV to the Academic Success Center (ASC). Jeanne considers herself an “ASC baby,” sharing that she began utilizing Academic Advising at the ASC and tutoring in the Lied Library her freshman year and never stopped taking advantage of the different services offered. While changing majors is common for many college students, she shared that she knew each time she questioned her major that the ASC would be there for guidance and support.  She stated, “Everyone always went above and beyond to help me.” Jeanne has become a shining star and leader to those in the UNLV community and as an advocate for ASC services as well. 

In Fall 2015, Jeanne became part of the Hixson-Lied Success Scholars Program, a scholarship program through the Academic Success Center that promotes academic achievement and professional development. Through this program, Jeanne has participated in monthly meetings, academic success coaching, maintained a 3.0 GPA and served as a representative of the program through outreach and as a mentor in the ASC’s First-Year Seminar for Exploring Majors, COLA 100E. Jeanne has grown throughout her years as a scholar from a student that did not speak in front of many people to a student leader who has shared her experiences and tips both in class presentations and through speeches at the Hixson-Lied annual meeting with donor and founder Ms. Christina Hixson and at the Academic Success Center Honors Ceremony on April 5th, 2017.

Her story is one that is relatable to many college students as she navigates a busy academic, professional and personal life, while enduring personal challenges and obstacles of which one cannot prepare for. 

She shared that she felt, “disconnected” prior to joining the Hixson-Lied program and it prompted her to use more ASC services. Like many college students, she was “struggling to balance school and work.” 
Through Academic Success Coaching, a requirement in the Hixson-Lied program, with coach Jess Soria, she learned more about time management, making charts and schedules to plan out her time. 

She continues to utilize Academic Success Coaching and reaches out whenever she needs help. Jeanne considers both the ASC staff and her fellow Hixson-Lied scholars and mentors “a support system.” She reflected on her past four years that were filled with changes in her major, personal struggles and a feeling of being “lost” that many students go through on their college journey.

She shared that ASC staff has always helped her and created a sense of belonging to the ASC and to the Hixson-Lied Success Scholars program. She smiled as she stated, “I’m very thankful for every single person who has helped me through my personal struggles, whether it was part of Hixson-Lied or an advisor who was not even my advisor, but would still help me.” Jeanne always expresses gratitude to ASC Services that has made her the successful student she is today.

Jeanne is a true example of how ASC services can help students succeed. She is never apprehensive to reach out for help and is always eager to show support to others. Her smile is welcoming to the students that she offers guidance to as they begin their own journeys at UNLV.  She shares, “I’ve made a lot of connections here” and the ASC is proud to have watched her grow within those connections and use her resources. As Jeanne graduates this May with a bachelor's degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Business Management, she will continue working in Human Resources for the Clark County Department of Aviation where she has worked for 2 years. Her career focus is in Human Resources, and we wish her the best of luck in all her future endeavors. The ASC will always be here to cheer you on! 
Regional Advising Conference
by Jenna Chang, Graduate Assistant

I joined the Academic Success Center in Fall 2016 as a graduate assistant to be a part of the new academic advising program, Major Pathways. Thanks to the support of the faculty & staff at the ASC, and the valuable experiences gained through my involvement in the Major pathways program, I was honored to receive the NACADA Region 9 Graduate Student Scholarship to attend the conference in March.

I also presented the Creating Pathways to Success with another advisor, Nicole Stella. We connected with many advisors who were facing similar concerns of students lacking the support they needed to succeed in math for their chosen major, specifically STEM or business majors. We discussed how the Major Pathways program was designed to address this trend as well as providing additional support to our students with our partnership with the Academic Success Coaches and the Math Bridge program. Although the program is still very new and it’s too soon to tell what the outcome of the program will be, we are excited about the possibilities. 

One of the sessions I attended at the conference, emphasized the importance of advisors helping their students build character by allowing them to think critically and engage in self-discovery. The emphasis in maintaining the student’s autonomy by letting the student make their own decisions resonated with my understanding as a graduate student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program.
Encouraging a student’s autonomy is something I hope to incorporate in my appointments with students as well as bring to my sessions with clients. In hopes of becoming a future therapist, it was reinforced that each person is unique and it is not my place to tell them how to live their lives. I am here to help support and guide the individual whenever needed. I am grateful for this opportunity the ASC has given me as it was an encouraging experience of professional development and is driving me to pursue my goal of presenting at the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Conference next year.

Attending the conference was an enriching experience for me since I had just started seeing students in advising appointments not too long ago and I learned a great deal about advising best practices. Being able to see what other universities were noticing in trends and what issues they were working on to further improve their ability to help their students inspired us and gave us some ideas on how to reach our goal of becoming a top-tier university.
COLA 100E and Academic Advising:  A Perfect Match __________________________________

by Dr. Joe Ervin, Assistant Professor-in-Residence

The Academic Success Center is a very collaborative place.  Not only do various units work closely with departments across campus, our colleagues also collaborate with each other in order to serve our student population.  C oming from the perspective of the Academic Transitions Unit, I want to highlight one such example of collaboration, that of COLA 100E and academic advising.

The Academic Advising Unit is where academic advisors work with non-degree seeking students, Major Pathways’ students, and students who are in the Exploring major.  The Academic Transitions Unit contains our first-year seminar course, COLA 100E, which is designed to assist students’ overall transition, development, and major exploration.  In general, advisors and COLA 100E instructors are deeply committed to their students, providing instruction, advice, and services which promote success in a variety of contexts.

Because of our common purposes, and the collaborative nature of the Academic Success Center, COLA 100E and academic advising work well together in serving students.  As an example, academic advisors give a guest presentation to every section of COLA 100E.  In this presentation, students learn about the usefulness and goals of academic advising.  Students come away with a better understanding of how academic advising can help them throughout their college career.  Advisors discuss the COLA 100E Academic Advising Assignment during the presentation. The Academic Advising Assignment is another example of collaboration.  

To complete this assignment, students are to meet with their academic advisor at least once during the semester.  Students can meet with an advisor at the Academic Success Center as an Exploring major, or to explore potential alternatives to their chosen major.  Students may also meet with an advisor for their declared major.  By facilitating meetings between students and advisors, COLA 100E and the Academic Success Center advisors are promoting the utilization of a very important resource.

Academic advisors and COLA 100E both assist students who are in the Exploring major, which allows for another avenue of collaboration.  Advisors and COLA 100E instructors strive for consistency in helping students learn about themselves and potential majors.  A specific framework known as the Major and Career Development Process has been used recently.  Together, advisors and instructors are dedicated to helping students find a direction with a major.

In short, COLA 100E and academic advising is an effective tandem at the Academic Success Center.  The collaborative environment of the Academic Success Center is conducive to all sorts of productive interactions.  As we continue to grow, we will always be committed to serving our students.  We are in this together! 
Volunteer Opportunity
Supplemental Instructor (SI) Program 

An exciting new development in the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program at UNLV is the creation of the SI Observation Volunteer position. Individuals with strong critical thinking and evaluation skills, looking for ways to volunteer on campus helping peers, can provide valuable course content feedback to SI Leaders by completing 1-3 volunteer hours per week during the Fall and Spring semesters.
Congratulations, Dr. Tony Terrell!
UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame

Please join us in congratulating, Dr. Tony Terrell, Assistant Director of Learning Support at the ASC, who was recently nominated for the UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame.  He will be inducted during the upcoming ceremony on May 4, 2017. Congratulations, Dr. Terrell on this amazing accomplishment!
Thank you for your support!
Expect Success!
Phone: (702) 895-3177 | | | @UNLV_ASC